Rents reach all-time weekly highs

Median weekly rents across the country reached a record high of $600 in February, the latest Trade Me data show.

The latest figures mark a 4% jump, or $25 a week, when compared with the same month last month.

Typically rent growth accelerates over the summer months, the result of heightened seasonal demand paired with a large number of tenancies coming to an end during this period.

These properties are then put back on the market, often with an adjusted rent.

The national median rent lingered in the $500 bracket for nearly four years before reaching $600 last month. It hit $500 for the first time in April 2019 where it remained for the rest of the year. It then started 2020 at $515, before increasing $5 to $520 by December.

National median rent at the beginning vs end of the year 2019-2022

  National median weekly rent - January National median weekly rent - December January vs December % change
2019               $495                    $500                  +1%
2020               $515                    $520                 +1%
2021               $540                    $560                  +4%
2022               $570                    $580                 +2%

In 2021, the national median weekly rent had the biggest increase of the past four years, climbing $20 between January and December. Last year, the national median weekly rent began the year at $570 and finished the year at $580.

Wellington City the most expensive

Wellington city was the most expensive district for renters in February, with the median weekly rent breaking records at $695.

In Auckland city, rents reached a new high of $620, while in Christchurch the median weekly rent was stagnant, remaining at the same level as January, at $510.

Nelson/Tasman had the biggest annual price increase in February, growing by 10% year-on-year to $550. Hawke’s Bay was a close second, with the region’s median weekly rent rising by 9% to reach a record high of $600.

Taranaki was the other region that had an all-time high median weekly rent last month, hitting $585.

Northland at -3% was the only region to see rents actually fall year-on-year.

Trade Me property sales director Gavin Lloyd says the impacts of recent flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle were not yet clear in February data.

“What we do know is that prices in the Auckland and Hawke’s Bay regions have been on the incline for some time and this continued last month. Unfortunately, more rent increases are likely as supply in these regions is stretched even further due to flooding damage.”

Supply sees first decline in almost a year

The number of rental listings nationwide dipped by 9% in February when compared with the same month last year, the first year-on-year drop since March 2022.

The biggest supply drops were in Marlborough, down -30%, Auckland, dropping -23%, and Southland, declining -11%.

However, this was not the case in every region, with rental supply spiking by a whopping 46% year-on-year in ManawatÅ«/Whanganui, Wellington, up +23%, Northland, rising +21%, and Nelson/Tasman, at +13% also saw supply rise by at least 10% in 12 months.”

Lloyd says while supply dropped in February, rental market demand increased by 22% nationwide year-on-year. The biggest increases were in Otago, up +51%, Auckland +46%, and Marlborough +29%.

Large and medium properties hit a new high

Large (5+ bedrooms) and medium (3-4 bedrooms) properties had record-high median weekly rents in February. “Wellington was the outlier, seeing no rent increases for small and medium-sized properties,” says Lloyd. The median weekly rent for a large property in the region fell by 7% year-on-year.”

Urban properties rents up

The national median weekly rent for an urban property rose to a new high of $535 last month, rising 7% year-on-year. Apartment rents increased the most, up 6% year-on-year and reaching a new high of $530.

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